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Stolen Reading

Rita Meade

Staff Writer

Rita Meade is a public library manager (and children's librarian at heart) who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Here at Book Riot, she hosts the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly bookish advice show. She reads as much as she possibly can (and it's still never enough), reviews children's books for "School Library Journal," and is the author of a forthcoming picture book called Edward Gets Messy (Simon & Schuster Young Readers, 2016). She also occasionally writes about funny library stuff over on her blog, and even less occasionally sings in a librarian band. Blog: Screwy Decimal Twitter: @screwydecimal

Yesterday, the lovely Amanda tweeted this:

It got me thinking about the weird places where I too “steal” reading moments. If you’re a voracious reader yourself, you probably read whenever you have some extended free time – at home, in waiting rooms, on planes, subways or buses. Then there are those little random moments in life where reading really shouldn’t be a priority, but you manage to make it one anyway. While stolen reading is not technically a crime, we want to know who else is guilty of it.

Here are some of our own moments of stolen reading:


-while waiting for water to boil (or for something to come out of the oven, or for the microwave to ding, or whatever thing I’m doing in the kitchen that allows me 30 seconds of standing still)

-I’m always in bed just before my husband, so I sneak in 60 seconds before the lights go out

-while the boys are momentarily distracted by a toy/coloring on each other’s faces

-at the park while the boys are throwing wood chips at each other (yeah, I’m that mom, and I don’t feel bad about it)

-at red lights…and sometimes at green lights if I’m not paying enough attention NO OFFICER I WAS NOT TEXTING

-in line at the grocery store (no joke, sometimes I go to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday because I know the lines will be crazy long and I’ll get an extra two minutes in)

-waiting at the Starbucks drive-thru



– between patrons on the reference desk (but only if it’s a verrrry slow shift, because technically I’m not supposed to read there. Actually, never mind. Forget I said that. I DON’T DO THAT.)

– during the moment before an elevator door opens

– at a bar/restaurant when the person I’m with goes to the restroom

– during intermission at a play (before the lights go down, of course)

– on the phone with my mom (just kidding, mom!)

We also asked some of our fellow Rioters to share their moments:

“I was reading a book in line, waiting for my lunch, when this notification buzzed on my phone.” – Liberty Hardy

“Waiting in line at the bank. Even if there’s just one person in front of me, out comes the paperback.” – Caitlin Van Horn

“I read during the sporting events that everyone around me seems intent on watching, whether it’s on the couch or in a bar.” – Cassandra Neace

“Waiting for coffee to be done. During commercial breaks on TV.” – Jeremy Anderberg

“I listen to audiobooks while I get dressed and do my hair every day.” – Tasha Brandstatter

“The 5 minutes at the gym when I’m all set up but class hasn’t started yet, waiting in line at the grocery store, in the car when my husband is listening to sports. While pumping gas!” – Rebecca Schinsky

“Standing on long metro escalators.” – Becky Cole

“When I’m waiting for my slow computer to switch between chrome and outlook.” – Preeti Chhibber

“During the 15 second ads before YouTube videos.” – Minh Le

Tell us in the comments, readers: where do you some of YOUR stolen reading?


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